The Art of the Journal, by Wendy DeRaud


When your heart is sick, keep writing.

"But what am I to do? I must have some drug, and reading isn’t a strong enough drug now.” —C.S. Lewis, writing about journaling after his wife died in A Grief Observed

When your heart is full and rich with joy, keep writing.

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” —William Wordsworth


Though your feelings tell you to stop, curl up in a corner and shrink back from life, instead, write.

Though you want to go out and play, play for awhile, then write.

Write about what you see around you. Write about the pain and the gladness, describe the beauty but don’t leave out the brokenness, and how God is able to mend it. Most of all, write from your imagination.




That is what I want to do now, cultivate my imagination. As I take up my pen and write, my thoughts are compelled to unravel, and I can see what really is fueling me today, what is driving me forward. When I feel stuck, I can’t get my motor going in any other way unless I begin to write.

I’ve kept diaries and journals since I was 14, and I have always written to draw myself out of myself, to help myself understand who I am. For an emotional introvert who was not in touch with my emotions, I needed to write in order to discover what I was feeling and thinking.


"As there are a thousand thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen to write.” —William Makepeace Thackeray

Now as an adult, I write in my journals to chronicle the stories God is writing in my life. I write as a vehicle for the Holy Spirit to speak to me as I listen. I craft prayers and lists of the requests of my heart, because getting them out on paper helps me to see more clearly what is important to me. By writing, my heart can make concrete declarations, affirming the truth I desire to see realized.



"If you want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you. Where you just put down what you think about life, what you think about things, what you think is fair and what you think is unfair." —Madeleine L'Engle  


The more I write, the more I want to dig deep into the place where my intuition resides, so I can become more and more familiar with the part of me that, without pretense or self-consciousness, speaks fluently from the spiritual center of the imagination. 


I want become practiced in my intuitive voice, speaking confidently from my true identity, knowing that its innate wisdom can speak to many people, using the same words which speak exactly to that which each person needs to hear.



I pull words like clouds out of a hat, and they turn colors as I paint them across the page, mixing them coherently with the thoughts that energize them, making their destination the need they are meant to fulfill, the problem they are meant to solve, the dreams images they are meant to interpret. They resonate with me, but they don't belong to me any more than I own the setting sunlight that decorates the wall of my room at twilight. My page is full, I close the book, and my heart can now rest.